Mike Bloomberg announced today that his company would let three former female employees out of their non-disclosure agreements should they want to make public their stories about working for him.
‘Bloomberg LP has identified 3 NDAs signed over the past 30+ years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made,’ the 2020 hopeful tweeted. ‘If any of them want to be released from their NDAs, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release.’
Going forward, he also announced that his company would no longer use silencing agreements when there are accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct.
‘I recognize that NDAs, particularly when they are used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault, promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported,’ Bloomberg said. ‘It is imperative that when problems occur, workplaces not only address the specific incidents, but the culture and practices that led to those incidents. And then leaders must act.’
Bloomberg LP has identified 3 NDAs signed over the past 30+ years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made.
If any of them want to be released from their NDAs, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release. https://t.co/bO9JpvSx1T
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 21, 2020
Bloomberg’s flip-flop on letting ex-employees out of these contracts came after new polling showed his favorability rating dropped a net 20 points after Wednesday night’s debate, according to a survey from Morning Consult.
Bloomberg was taken on by Elizabeth Warren on the Las Vegas debate stage for keeping these contracts intact.
She continued to keep the narrative in the news by appearing at a CNN town hall Thursday night with a document in hand, putting her skills as a contract law professor to use.
‘And I thought I would make this easy,’ Warren told CNN’s Erin Burnett. ‘I wrote up a release and a covenant not to sue. And all that Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it – I’ll text it – sign it. And then the women, or men, will be free to speak and tell their own stories,’ Warren added, as the audience laughed.
Then, Warren read the relevant parts:
‘Bloomberg and the company release any and all obligations contained in any agreement, including but not limited to, any employment settlement, severance, or non-disclosure agreement between Bloomberg and/or the company and any other person to the extent those obligations preclude the other person from disclosing information relating to sexual harassment, discrimination, or other misconduct at the company or by Bloomberg himself,’ she said. ‘Under this release, it is now the other person’s choice to disclose such information or not.’
‘I think that the mayor should sign this and that we all have a right to see,’ Warren added.
As soon as Warren got onstage, she had reminded the CNN audience gathered in Las Vegas of her persistent attacks on Bloomberg during the Nevada Democratic debate.
‘I had an exchange with Mayor Bloomberg about the question about sexual harassment and discrimination, that it occurred, and there have been many allegations about this, and he said on the stage that, no, it had just really been about a few jokes that he had told, that people hadn’t been able to take a joke,’ Warren said.
When Bloomberg countered with the line, ‘None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told,’ the audience gasped.
The crowd also reacted to Warren’s opening swing at Bloomberg, where she called him out for nasty things he said about women in the past.
‘I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. And no I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg,’ Warren said Wednesday night.
Burnett asked Warren about that attack line.
‘Let me just be clear. That’s what he said. I was quoting him on those words,’ Warren said.
The anchor then asked if Bloomberg’s response – implying it was an off-color joke – was enough.
‘That just doesn’t cut it,’ the Massachusetts senator complained.
She answered in the affirmative when Burnett asked if Bloomberg’s behavior was disqualifying ‘in and of itself’ to be president of the United States.
‘Yes, I do,’ Warren answered. ‘You know, can we all just remember the power relationship about what’s going on here.’
She pointed to how much courage it would take, as an employee, to stand up to the boss, especially one as moneyed as Bloomberg, who’s currently worth $63.7 billion, according to Forbes.
‘You’ve got to admit, that takes a lot to be able to do that, and that the consequence of it is he dumps some money on it and then stuffs a gag in the woman’s mouth,’ Warren said. ‘If he’s not willing to remove those gags and let those women and maybe those men talk, then he is disqualified from being president of the United States.’
That being said, Warren admitted to Burnett that she would support whomever the Democratic nominee is.
‘Look, I will support the Democratic nominee because i believe that everyone on that stage would make a better president than Donald Trump. I’m in,’ Warren said.
Burnett asked Warren to reiterate whether she’d support Bloomberg ‘even thought he called someone a “horse-faced lesbian.”‘
‘Look … what we’ve got right now is a chance for the Nevada voters to make sure that Michael Bloomberg is not our nominee, and that’s what I’m asking for,’ Warren said.